Michael Angell

Michael Angell

Michael Graham Angell, of Compton Bassett, was only 53 years old when he was found dead in Merchant Street in Broadmead on May 4, 2017.

He was not just a homeless man, he was a dad, uncle, brother, son and more latterly, boyfriend too. Saving up for months, he spent his last penny buying his girlfriend a necklace with a golden cross on it. He was held in her arms, having just given the necklace, when he died. They were planning to marry soon.

Many knew him as a real friend, a caring man, an intelligent man, and someone who became a man of faith in the last few years of his life.

Michael was well-known for being a good speaker and anyone who met him commented they could listen to him for hours. He had once gone for confirmation classes with a woman who was terminally ill with cancer. He was known for his sensitive side, and always knew all the right things to say at the right time. Time with Michael was never wasted.

Michael would often walk or cycle between St Mary’s in Calne and St Swithin's, where he attended services and did bell ringing. The sound of a solitary bell chiming out across the village as he was carried from the church at his funeral was an emotional sound to hear.

He struggled with alcohol addiction for many years. Things took a turn for the worse for Michael and he started sleeping rough in 2016. It was then that he met his girlfriend Faith. But his alcohol problems soon got the better of him and Rev. Philip Bromiley, who returned to the parish for the funeral said: “Many would have hoped he resisted the temptation of alcohol, and he did once. He was making good progress. But things like this come back with a vengeance."

Many people from all walks of life turned up at a candlelit vigil held in Castle Park, Bristol to say goodbye, writing moving messages on small slips of paper. Michael's family went down from Compton Bassett, for the vigil and to donate clothes, boots, writing materials, blankets and bags to the homeless charity 'Feed the Homeless' in his memory. In an interview with the Bristol Post his family revealed they had received a card with a loving message from Michael shortly before he died. In the card, he wrote that he was going to go home to visit his mum and the family and that he was preparing to marry his girlfriend. He also wished his mother a happy birthday. But two days later, the family heard that the dad-of-two had passed away.

He will be missed by so many. RIP Michael!

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Reg Waite

Reg Waite

It is with the saddest of hearts that I bring you the news of the funeral of one of the great characters of the village who passed away, just three weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, on the 23rd August 2016 at the age of just 60.

A near capacity crowd filled St Swithins church with mourners standing across the back and down the sides of the pews, with even some standing outside the doors, all paying tribute to our dear friend, Reg.

Until his retirement he would be seen (or heard) leaving the village in the early morning on his way to work in his van, where many would have remembered as the cheery chap who swept the streets in Royal Wootton Bassett and Cricklade for nearly thirty years. His afternoons were often taken up grass cutting or hedge trimming at The Manor and as a result driving the mower along the road from where it was kept up to The Manor. He always threw himself wholeheartedly into anything he did and the roles he played in many performances with CHADS at the Benson Hall always had a particular slant on them which was particularly 'Reg'. He was known often to give his fellow cast members cause to have a fit of the giggles and render their proper lines almost impossible to deliver. For many years he was also a stalwart of the Compton Bassett Cricket Club

Our thoughts and condolences at this time go to his family and to his wife Ginny in particular. One of the characters of the village has been lost to us this week.

His funeral was held at St Swithin's church on Wednesday 7th September at 1:15 pm with a private cremation ceremony afterwards at the West Wiltshire Crematorium, for his family only. His family asked for flowers from family members only. There were donation plates inside the church for The Brighter Future Radio Therapy Unit at Swindon Hospital which were generously contributed to by those who attended and raised £496. Donations were also made on line at https://justgiving.com/fundraising/reg-waite raising more than £600, together exceeding the £1,000 target set by his three surviving children Matthew (38) Rebecca (36) and Simon (34).

Despite Reg not undergoing radiotherapy treatment himself, they have decided to raise money for the Brighter Futures appeal so that other families facing cancer are not faced with a lengthy commute to and from Oxford for treatment. Rebecca said in a report in the Swindon Advertiser ”The cancer had begun in is oesophagus before spreading to the lungs and liver. By the time it had been found it was too late for any treatment. But even if he had been given radiotherapy treatment he would have found the drive to Oxford all too much, he found it really hard to sit – he wouldn‘t have been able to make that journey travelling that distance.“

Afterwards his family laid on refreshments at the village hall for all who attended.

He will be missed by so many. RIP Reg!

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Guy Pilcher Clayton

Guy Pilcher-Clayton

Guy was born in Ely on 25th May 1959, his father was an Air Force Officer and the family moved frequently until Guy was 6, when they settled in Wiltshire. They lived in married quarters in Lyneham for a few years, before moving to Compton Bassett when his father retired from the RAF and retrained as a Maths teacher. Guy attended Lyneham and Cherhill Primary schools and then went to Fynamore School in Calne where his father taught, his tutor at Fynamore School, David Bevan, remembers Guy as being a lively boy, when I asked David if Guy ever stopped talking at school he just smiled!

Guy left school at 16 and joined REME as an apprentice helicopter engineer, he worked hard to qualify and pass the required HND exams. He was to stay in the army for 12 years, serving in the UK and Germany as well as several tours in Northern Ireland during the troubles.

It was at this time that his interest in cooking began and strange ingredients started to appear in his mother’s kitchen. Visits from Guy to our home would conclude with him cooking for us, often a very hot curry followed by a very fattening desert. He usually returned from his overseas trips with bottles of exotic sauces to stock our larder.

Guy had the knack of making friends and throughout his life kept in touch with his Compton Bassett friends, most of whom he got to know over a pint at The White Horse Inn.

Guy joined Bristow’s over twenty years ago and very quickly became a licensed Aircraft Engineer. His colleague, Kevin Smith, remembers him as a “a man of strong character who always gave 100% to any project that he was involved in, whether he was an Engineer on the hangar floor, Supervisor, Chief Engineer or Project manager.” After a few years Guy joined the International Division of Bristow’s and worked in many overseas operations including, the Falkland Islands, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Bangladesh, Brazil and latterly Trinidad where he was the Project manager for the new Hanger facility. Kevin recalls working with Guy on a project in the Amazon in 2001 which was very demanding. Guy worked 15 hour days relentlessly in the middle of the rainy season with no Hangar, to ensure the AS 332L was serviceable and ready for its next flight. He also remembers Guy as a “very sociable person who
enjoyed a few pints after work and of course loved his golf, a colleague and friend and above all a very good, honest man.”

Guy often worked in isolated places and always travelled with a stack of DVDs to occupy his leisure time, he also became an avid solver of The Daily Telegraph Crossword.

Guy was a 100% man and enthusiastically embraced many hobbies during his life. As a teenager he played the cornet in Calne Silver Band and then went on to play the Euphonium, and in later years taught himself to play the flute. In his twenties he was a DIY fanatic and Mole End became a building site whenever he was on leave. Not content with redecoration Guy built cupboards, knocked down walls, refitted the kitchen and bathroom, re-tiled and re-plastered rooms, created and installed a shower room, installed new window and door frames and learnt brick laying and roofing to build a porch. The porch still stands proudly 25 years later and doesn’t leak. I think his mother, and indeed all of us, heaved a collective sigh of relief when he discovered golf.

Golf was to become a passion with Guy, his enthusiasm for it never waned. He told me that he wasn’t very good at it but I understand he did achieve a ‘hole-in-one’ on at least one occasion. He was nicknamed ‘Slasher’ after his propensity for driving balls into uncharted parts of the course with more vigour than accuracy, a title he adopted with some pleasure. On moving to Portugal he joined the Boavista Golf Club making many friends. Andrew Bartyla’s over riding memories of Guy are the many rounds of golf that they played, seldom finishing without a laughing attack on one or more hole. It was never golf played like the norm! Guy disappeared left and Andrew right, hoping to meet on the correct green.

Guy did much good charitable work during his life, he was particularly interested in helping disabled servicemen. A creative man, only Guy would think of raising money for charity by encouraging the whole golf club membership to guess just how many of his golf balls disappeared into pastures new! I have never heard the final number but it was good to learn that the eventual winner was a young man who had suffered life changing injuries as a soldier in battle.

Guy’s family was important to him, when Hugh was ill a couple of years ago he was very concerned and phoned frequently for medical updates. He took a keen interest in his niece and nephew. When they were younger he came home from trips abroad with piles of ‘designer’ clothes and DVDs for them, bought from dodgy markets, and when they were teenagers he was the one who knew just how to talk to them, asking about their favourite bands. He appreciated the adults that they became and was enjoying getting to know Anna’s husband, Nick.

Hugh, David, Anna and Nick have all stayed with him in Portugal. Guy was a generous host who introduced his guests to the delights of Lagos and the surrounding area, including the famous Eddie’s Bar.

Guy’s generosity, humour and quick wit will be missed in many corners of the globe and for many years to come. MP-C

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Serena Henly

Serena Henly

Serena was born in London on the 8th March 1930. She moved to Freeth, Compton Bassett, in 1957 when she married her husband Bob Henly.

It came as a deep shock to the whole village to hear of her sudden passing on Wednesday 19th March 2014 aged 84 years. Beloved wife of the late Bob, mother of Jasper and Richenda, grandmother to Kitty, Rollo and Charlie. A strong supporter of the church and of village life she will be sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this sad time.

We are all deeply saddened by the death of Serena Henly and we print here, as a fitting obituary and with his permission the ovation given by Jasper Henly for his mother at her funeral at St. Swithin’s Church, Compton Bassett on April 4th. She leaves an unfillable gap in our lives in the village.

Richenda and I are overwhelmed by all the cards, letters, kind words and memories. We are proud that our mother meant so much to you all and we thank you.

Serena Lamb was born in London on the 8th March 1930, her father was a former Major in the Black Watch and the Black and Tans, her mother was the daughter of Sir Fredrick Eley, they farmed at Sundrige in Kent where Serena and her two sisters, Lystra Mary and Cordelia lived. They moved to Cogeswells, Tytherton Lucas when she was four and went to the Meravion school at East Tytherton then to Gintra school in Calne. By now the war was in full swing and her stepbrother Stephen was evacuated and joined them.

They went to school by train from Stanley station taken there by pony and trap. Serena soon learnt that if she got up early and chased Smokey around the paddock a few times no one could catch him and then they could not go to school

At school Miss Stone had a board on the wall with all the names of the Royal Navy ships and the German Fleet and the children were encouraged to listen to the news and tell Miss Stone of any ships that had been sunk, they were then award points. After the first ten days Serena and Stephen had sunk the entire German Fleet and most of the Royal Navy.

After Fintra she went to the convent school in Chippenham where she often drove the school bus as the driver was in a drunken stupor. On her birthday her mother would take the family to Bristol Zoo and then a picnic on the Downs above the gorge. When their mother dozed off they would pelt the tennis club with stones some two hundred feet below and to their delight a man would come out shaking his fists; he soon ran back in. In 1947 she went to Rhodesia with her grandfather, Commissioner Lamb, as companion/secretary staying in Government House, Salisbury. Returning home a year later she worked for Colonel Rollo Baker at East Tytherton.

Serena married Bob in 1957 and moved to the Freeth where she had three thousand laying hens, brood mares, turkeys for Christmas and every kind of animal. She was very much involved with the Pony Club, organized and delivered meals on wheels, parish council, treasurer for Compton Bassett PCC, wrote a monthly article for The Villages, and was Chairman of the W.I. In 1972 she became a magistrate soon becoming the chairman of the Calne bench and sitting on the Chippenham bench; she was known as ‘Hangum High’! A monk appeared before her charged with speeding, she sentenced him to five Hail Marys!

She loved hunting and always had tremendous hunting teas at the Freeth, often ending up in food fights and once beating some anti-hunt people with a wet mop. They ran for their lives.

She always walked hound puppies and was so proud when Culprit her dog hound won the puppy show.

She was very tough and expected her children to be. Richenda was the only person at pony club camp to have a camp bed made from a West of England hessian sack filled with wheat straw. She was an excellent cook though sometimes a bit experimental especially when she poisoned herself on runner bean root.

The Freeth was always full of laughter, warmth, entertainment, dogs, moth eaten parrots and you could expect to meet people from all walks of life, young and old, gypsies and Princes, everyone was made to feel very welcome and at ease.

She was a champion of rural life and knew all that was going on in the local area. She was quick witted and with a sharp mind. She served her community well, a free spirit, sometimes a loose cannon, worldly, kind, generous unshakable and with a great sense of humour. She loved practical jokes and had the ability to put people in their place with a few well placed words. If you heard her muttley laugh you knew she had told a rude joke. She hated getting old but had great faith and strength. She did not like how the world was going with spinning politicians, gay church marriages and fund raising for lavatories in the church. I hope you will all have happy
memories of Serena and feel your lives enriched for knowing her.

I think we all thought she would never leave the Freeth. Graggy/Seir was so proud of her grandchildren; Rollo being so determined to farm and working so hard,
Charlie being such a gifted horseman and working so hard, Kitty for being Kitty with her strong traits of Graggy. She was a great Mother and friend to me and I will miss her terribly.....
God Bless.

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Sheila Smith

Sheila Smith

Sheila Smith was born in Compton Bassett at No. 61 on 23rd June 1928 and passed peacefully on 19th February 2014 at Goatacre Manor Care Centre.

Her funeral was held at St Swithin's in Compton Bassett and conducted by the Rev. Jim Scott.

Sheila was the youngest daughter of May and Walt Lewis and sister to Beryl and Alan. She lived in Compton Bassett for most of her life and worked at the main Post Office in Calne, cycling back and forth in all weathers. She met her husband Les at a dance in Cherhill, where she would often go, on the back of her brother Alan’s motor bike.

Les and Sheila married in November 1955 and moved in to number 35 where they lived for 54 years. She loved village life and took an interest in helping put together the Villages Magazine, the village fete and was also on the parish council for a time. As well as working in Calne, she assisted in various sub post offices at Cherhill, Yatesbury, Derryhill, Bremhill, Lyneham and Lyneham Camp. Somehow she managed to get a flight on a Hercules at Lyneham!

Sheila had a passion for baking and produced numerous sponges for ‘The Candy’s’ farm shop at Cherhill as well as fruitcakes and shortbread, which her daughter Carol would take to work for Comic Relief and Children in Need charity days. She also knitted and sewed tirelessly, be it skirts, dresses, trouser suits, cardigans or tops, it seemed as if she knitted for everyone.

In July 2010, with failing health, Sheila and Les moved to Goatacre Manor Care Centre where her devoted husband died that October.

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June Harrison

Sadly June Harrison passed away aged 86 at the Great Western Hospital on 10th March. She regularly received Holy Communion accompanied by friends, administered by Pam Evans. She will be sadly missed by all in the village. Our prayers and sympathy are with her Family.

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Froncis Oldbury Burns

Francis Simon Oldbury Burne

The funeral of Francis Simon Oldbury Burne took place on 13th January at St.Swithin’s conducted by the Revd. Philip Bromiley. He lived in the village for years at number 51, The Old Forge, where this picture of him was taken. He passed away shortly after he moved out, five days before his 83rd birthday on 24th December 2013.

Think not of me when you are sad - But think of me when you are glad
And think of all the fun we had - When you remember me.

 

 

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Midge Mather

Midge Mather died peacefully at home after a short illness aged 82 years on December 23rd 2013. Her funeral took place at St. Swithin’s on 14th January 2014, conducted by the Revd. Philip Bromiley.

Compton Bassett resident Midge Mather, a much-loved mother who supported many community events, has died at the age of 82. Mrs Mather was a gamekeeper’s daughter, and was born on November 7, 1931 at the Keeper’s Cottage at Lower Colham, just outside Castle Combe, to Rebeccah and James Rumming.

She was the youngest of seven children and moved from the keeper’s cottage into Castle Combe at the start of the Second World War where she went to the local school. After leaving school at 14, Midge started work in the offices at Westinghouse Brake and Signals in Chippenham, where she was popular among her colleagues. She had a fun sense of humour, which remained with her all her life, and enjoyed all sports. She excelled at running and at the yearly sports day at Westinghouse, was known to win many prizes.

Midge’s other love during this time was ballroom dancing, and she achieved her National Association of Teachers of Dancing Gold Cross in 1954. She ran a youth club in Castle Combe in the 1950s and taught many children there to dance. She remained at Westinghouse until the birth of her daughter Rebekah in 1957. She also travelled with her husband to Singapore, a country that had a profound effect on her, and also lived in Germany.

Midge moved here to Compton Bassett, the home of the Rumming family, in 1967 with her husband, mother and brother John. Shortly after she returned to work at Westinghouse. During her life she supported many village events and her knitting won her prizes at the village flower show. Midge campaigned to save the village war memorial when its future was in doubt and, together with her brother John, maintained it for many years.

On retiring from Westinghouse Signals, Mrs Mather took up bee keeping, and she spent much of her time in the garden. She loved her dogs and always had them by her side. Even in Singapore she rescued a dog from the pound, and had to walk seven miles home because no taxi would pick her up.

Her daughter Rebekah said: “She had her principles and values and she stood by them to the end. “No doubt many will remember her for cutting the bell ropes of St Swithin’s Church in the village. “But there was so much more to her than this one episode. She was a kind generous lady with character who will be much missed.”

May she rest in peace - Our sympathy and prayers are with Rebekah

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Emily Maud Cleverly

Emily Maud Cleverly known to most of us as Shook, died on 15th January 2012 aged 97. She was our oldest inhabitant and had lived in Compton Bassett for 27 years. Born at the Pippin in Calne on 7th June 1915 one of three children. Her father was a Carter and they went to live at Hilmarton. Then, when she was still very young they moved to Calstone. Here they lived in a cottage at the top of Barrow Hill, her father working for Roland Maundrell for a few years and then for Mr Vines at Blackland Farm, during which time she went to School in Calstone. Every Sunday they went to Sunday School which was held in the School and in the evening they went to Evensong at St. Mary’s, the Rev. Danneman was rector. Sunday was a day of rest, they wore their best clothes; there was no gardening, no knitting, no sewing and after church they would go home and sing hymns together. Shook left school when she was 14 and went into service working for the Parry’s at Chilvester until she was 25.

In 1936 her parents moved into a house next to the Reading Room at the top of Spray’s Hill. Part of that house was the Village Shop which her parents took over. You could buy everything you needed including freshly baked bread, until the start of rationing at the beginning of World War II. Shook’s father also had the smallholding beside the shop and at one time had as many as 7 horses that were used to haul stone for road building. In 1940 Shook wanted to join the Navy but she failed the medical so joined the Women’s Land Army, moving back to Calstone to live with her parents. She really liked farm work, especially loving horses. She could remember the Reading Room being used almost every day. In the evenings there were dances, whist drives, Women’s Institute Meetings and the Village Band.

In 1972 Shook’s mother died. She then left Calstone and went to live at Common Farm, Quemerford, moving to Compton in 1987. Shook had many very real friends and neighbours who cared about her well being and worried about her frailties as she grew older. She had wonderful clear memories. One of the earliest was when she was sitting on her father’s shoulders, aged 3, on the Green in Calne watching a huge bonfire which was celebrating the end of the Great War. She always said that going back to Calstone was like going home. It is especially good that she wrote her memories for the Millenium.

Chris Smith, Janet’s husband, Enid & Jimmer Taylor’s son in law gave an excellent eulogy at the Service of Thanksgiving for her life ending with Shook’s own words:

“It’s been a good life, and a healthy and happy one.
I wouldn’t have made any changes.”

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Gladys Rumming

Gladys Rumming passed away peacefully in her sleep on 6th November 2012 aged 91 years, born and brought up in Coaley, Nr Dursley, where her parents had a small holding and later kept the Heart of Oak pub.

When Gladys left school she worked on looms weaving camouflage material. She first met Reg when he had gone to stay with an Aunt. The courtship flourished, Reg would ride his bike to Coaley and back one week-end and on the following week-end Gladys would ride to Compton, a distance of 45 miles each way.

They married in 1944 at first living at Upper Lodge, Cherhill and, though Gladys was brought up Wesleyan, when she married she faithfully worshipped at St. Swithin’s for 60 years. She was a very active member of the W.I. with lots of skills and talents and we have fond memories of her.

As proud and loving parents they endured the overwhelming terrible tragedy of the death of their only two very talented musical sons, who both served in the Royal Marines, which they bore with great fortitude supported by their only daughter Diane.

Our sympathy and prayers are with Diane, the grandchildren and great grandchildren. May she rest in peace.

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Reg Rumming

Reg Rumming

1921 - 2012

A personal view

It was with the greatest sadness that we learned of the death of Reg Rumming on 26 January 2012. Reg had been born in 1921 at 61 Compton Bassett, one of the cottages behind the village pond. His family had been established for many generations in this part of Wiltshire and to Reg the village always meant everything.

Sadly his mother died of TB when he was only three years old and his father took him to live with his aunt, Mrs. Taylor, at 52 Compton Bassett just a short distance away. He started at the village school in 1925 when Miss Billet was the infant’s teacher and always had happy memories of his time there. He left school at the age of 14 and went to work for Captain Guy Benson in the gardens of Compton House, one of nineteen working there then. It was a hard school under the strict control of Mr Devenish, the head gardener. But Reg was an apt and intelligent pupil and amassed a truly amazing horticultural knowledge with a detailed understanding of plants and their botanic names. In this day and age he would have flourished in any university and the world would have been his oyster. But for Reg Compton Bassett was his world and he had no desire to leave the comfort of its embrace.

When the Bensons moved out, just before the war, he went to work for the Fielding-Johnsons at the Manor Farm and then, to my great good fortune, he stayed on to work for me when I bought the farm in 1963. And there he remained until his retirement. Reg was a gentleman. One of nature’s gentlemen; I have heard several people say that over the years. A gentleman in the true meaning of the word! He was courteous and kind, generous and unassuming. Always striving to please. A gentle man; Reg’s knowledge of the farm was encyclopaedic and invaluable; he knew every water pipe and land drain every stopcock and hidden well. The maps he made still guide us today. Always on an even keel, rarely huffy or upset, always willing to work any hours in time of need. He was a pleasure to work with and I like to think that we became firm friends. Whatever Reg did it had to be done right. He was meticulous in his standards. Lines had to be dead strait and corners square. Helping him to prick out seedlings was something of a challenge. My higgledy piggledy efforts alongside his perfect grid did not look good. He never said anything but I knew what he must be thinking.

One of Reg’s greatest talents was in the growing of show quality vegetables although I don’t think that he ever quite accepted that a 3ft leek was not exactly what the cook was looking for in the kitchen. But fortunately we have photos showing some of the magnificent displays he created for the old Compton flower show and others throughout the district in the days of Compton gardens and later on for flower shows in the village hall. He had a rare talent here and could have exhibited at the Royal Horticultural Society shows in London; I did my best to try to persuade him to do so but without success. An RHS medal would have crowned his gardening career.

Reg was a stalwart member of the Church throughout his years in Compton Bassett and his quiet faith did, I am sure, help to uphold him through the pains and difficulties he encountered during his long life, the tragic loss of his sons David and Dennis and his long long battle with arthritis. He bore much pain with great fortitude. But the greatest support of all, a steel girder of support, came from his beloved Gladys throughout the long years of their married life together. Christmas was a favourite time of year for Reg who was a great believer in history and tradition and every year he would like to keep it in the same way. We would cut a Christmas tree on the farm and nail a board to the bottom of it and every year it had to be the same nail and the same board and then we would plant it in an old bushel measure and bring it into the house.

So what of Reg’s legacy? For he has left a legacy apart from all the memories which we have of him. He planted many trees and a beech hedge planted from seeds taken from the crops of pigeons (they only pick up good seed, he used to say). He planted tree seeds on the births of our children and gave all five of them trees to commemorate their weddings. And only last year, ever generous, he gave an oak tree to be planted in the village to mark the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, insisting on paying the whole cost himself.

Reg’s name is fully acknowledged in the Wiltshire County archive in Chippenham where is deposited the collection of old photographs of Compton Bassett which we collected together in 1990, Reg finding most of them himself and writing all the captions. A priceless record of Village history. We also have a recorded interview with Reg made a few years ago reminiscing about village life and a transcription of that.

Well I could go on and on with these personal reminiscences and I have left out so much, but just let me say that to mark Reg’s retirement 25 years ago we planted in the garden a fern leaved beech which has grown into a fine tree and we will put a stone beneath it with a memorial to Reg, a fine countryman, a Wiltshireman whom we have been proud to know. We offer our deepest sympathy to Gladys and Diana and all the family. J.S.R.

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Albert Goodenough

died 15th December 2011 aged 91 years.

Born in Compton Bassett. His parents were Albert and Elizabeth and he went to the village school. After a few years he left home to work and travel and then settled in Chipping Campden with his own shop where he was very popular and very much liked with his wife Margaret who died in 1991. When he retired he went to live in Shipston on Stour, meeting his second wife Christine in the Horse Shoe local in 1992. She is from Australia. His ashes were interred on Friday 1st June 2011 in the family grave at St.Swithin’s.

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Les Smith

Les Smith

Passed Away October 2010

Les Smith, was born on 24th July 1928, the youngest of ten children, 6 boys Harry, Fred, Whally, Reg, Eric & Les, and 4 girls Bet, Stell, Joan & Syb. There were 21yrs between him and his oldest brother Harry, but only 15 months between him and his youngest sister Syb.

He has lived in Compton Bassett his whole life, working on the family farm, delivering the milk which they produced and bottled themselves. Still to this day, the odd milk bottle can be found buried where the Dairy used to be. He met his wife Sheila at one of the dances at Cherhill, and they married on 12th November 1955 and moved into No 35.

Then in January 1967 his daughter Carol came along. He was the proudest Dad of all, as both he and Sheila thought they wouldn’t have any children. Carol didn’t come along without problems. Sheila had Toxaemia, and was in St Martin’s Hospital Bath for 3 month before Carol was born. Les made that journey every night without fail in all weathers to see her. Carol arrived 7 weeks premature, and weighed only 2lb 10oz’s (the weight of a bag of sugar he used to say). She spent several months in an incubator and finally came home when she was 5lbs. He always called her his special girl.

He continued working on the farm until it was sold in the early 70’s, and then worked in the building trade as a labourer for Pits and then ISIS until the early 90’s. It was then he went to Bowood working on the golf course, which he really enjoyed. He loved to be outside, there wasn’t a day went by that he didn’t walk up on the hills for hours on end in all weathers, and hated it in later years when he could no longer make those trips.

Many will also remember him for his skittles. He was captain of the White Horse and Roosters Skittle teams for well over 30 years. He would take his game very seriously, there were many who would have had a “Telling Off” if their score wasn’t up to scratch, but would also have got the praise for the much needed “Spare”. He finally gave up his captain’s hat, of the White Horse and passed the job over to his nephew Anthony.

He has been a regular at the White Horse Pub for most of his life, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sunday evenings, enjoying his pints of 6X and his Famous Grouse with water. Even in the last couple of years he managed to get there occasionally and it was only a month or so before he passed away that Tara and Danny so kindly sent him a glass of whisky which he thoughally enjoyed. He was a lovely lovely man, a loving husband and devoted Dad, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

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